As Advent comes to a close, the season of joy is just beginning so you have plenty of time throughout the month of January to do some of these celebratory ideas!

Christmas Is Coming: Our Family Holiday Organizer

thomas kinkade christmas 2

A rich heritage can be passed on from generation to generation with the special traditions that are part of your Christmas celebration, and it’s not too late to start now. It makes no difference whether you’re a family or an individual – you can still create wonderful memories and establish special traditions. “Let this Christmas be one of happiness, and the New Year be radiate with hope and filled with the impulse of doing something for somebody every day. ”

Cookie Exchange – This is a great idea! Who invented it? We’re not really sure, but it was truly a stroke of genius! Instead of making a variety of cookies for the holiday, you can make a large batch of your favorites and swap them for many different kinds.

I received an invitation that instructed me to bring seven dozen cookies plus my recipe written on a recipe card that would be displayed by my cookie plate.

We drank hot Christmas tea and wrote down other recipes on pretty cards from our hostess. Each guest received paper tote bag (a box or tray could also be used) to take our wonderful collection of goodies home.

Christmas Memory Book – An album dedicated to remembering Christmases is a great idea. All this tradition requires is a photo album. With each year a photo could be added, with the Christmas card sent for the year, and a  journal detailing Christmas festivities and traditions. Children may add little mementos if they wish as well.

Family Movies, Video, Slides – It’s so much fun to see those old family movies, slides, photos or videos. Set aside an evening to do just that. It’s interesting to see how everyone has changed.

Take a family Christmas photo every year too. We take ours at Thanksgiving. It’s the one time we all seem to be together. Coordinating your clothing is also fun. Be creative and do your own thing. Include the pets,teddy bears, and favorite dolls or toys as well. Some of the photos we have of past Christmases delight our grandchildren because their parents are hugging dolls and teddy bears!.

Enjoy Christmas Cards – Ours begin to arrive early in December. We store them in a basket as the days draw closer to Christmas. Then, beginning January 1, we take our card-filled basket to our meal table, and before or after our meal, each member of the family draws out a card. We read the card and who it is from and then offer a prayer for that person or family. This tradition can last well into the new year.

Give Toys – Many local and civic organizations provide an opportunity for individuals and families to donate toys for distribution to needy families on Christmas Eve. What a great way to teach your children the Joy of Giving.

Adopt a Family – There are many opportunities where your family can adopt a family in need. Help them with holiday food and gifts – it’s a great bridge-builder. This can be done anonymously if it would be easier.

Put up a “JOY” Stocking – During the month of December, (or January) each family member puts thoughts, love notes and prayers in the “joy” stocking. Then on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day,the notes are pulled out and read.

Christmas Traditions Don’t Have to Be Expensive (Emilie Barnes)Christmas-Gate

1. Go caroling around the neighborhood or at a convalescent home to spread cheer. Bring a thermos of hot cocoa to keep everyone warm.

2. Attend a Christmas pageant and take lots of pictures.

3. Enjoy the holiday lights in your hometown on a nighttime walk. It’s fun to see your neighbor’s decorations.

4. Go to a recital at a local church. Many choirs sing The Messiah and other seasonal music.

5. Have a special hot chocolate time, use Christmas mugs. Sprinkle the tops with little marshmallows, whipped cream, and colored sprinkles. Use a candy cane to stir. Yum!

6. Throughout the year, save the remnants of candles from special occasion (birthday, anniversaries, special dinners,etc.). Melt the remnants from one large Christmas candle.

7. Look at garage sales, flea markets and antique spots for pretty inexpensive teacups to place homemade tea cookies,candies or tea bags in. Give them with gifts along with a message:

“When this cup is empty and the goodies are all gone,

Fill it again for another friend, so you can pass it on.”